Buzz Stocks: Microsoft Corporation, Vascular Biogenics Ltd, and Celladon Corporation

Today's stocks to watch in the news include Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), Vascular Biogenics Ltd (NASDAQ:VBLT), and Celladon Corp (NASDAQ:CLDN)

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Jun 1, 2015 at 9:40 AM

U.S. stocks kicked off the week on a high note, with the major indexes sitting in the black. In company news, today's stocks to watch include software giant Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), as well as drugmakers Vascular Biogenics Ltd (NASDAQ:VBLT) and Celladon Corp (NASDAQ:CLDN)

  • MSFT announced its Windows 10 operating system will be available globally on Wednesday, July 29. Users of Windows 7 and 8.1 can upgrade to the new version for free. In early trading, Microsoft Corporation shares are 0.7% higher at $47.17, but have struggled longer term -- up less than 2% year-to-date. As such, options traders have been buying to open puts over calls at an accelerated clip in recent months. MSFT's 50-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) put/call volume ratio of 0.73 ranks just 12 percentage points from a 12-month peak. Echoing this, the stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.79 sits in the put-skewed 70th percentile of its annual range.

  • VBLT is 7.3% higher at $8.64, thanks to encouraging trial results from its brain tumor drug, VB-111. From a relative-strength perspective, Vascular Biogenics Ltd has outperformed the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) by 117 percentage points over the last 20 sessions, and is more than 47% higher year-to-date. Not surprisingly, all three analysts tracking the stock rate it a "strong buy," and VBLT's consensus 12-month price target of $13 stands in territory not charted since a mid-February bear gap.

  • Finally, CLDN is looking for a strategic partnership or acquisition, following the disappointing performance of its heart drug in a mid-stage trial. The company also named Chief Financial Officer Paul Cleveland as its new CEO, after Krisztina Zsebo resigned from the post. These developments have the equity sitting 12.1% higher at $2.59. Longer term, though, Celladon Corp has performed terribly, shedding 86.7% of its value in 2015. On the sentiment front, each of the four brokerage firms following CLDN consider it a "hold," while its average 12-month price target of $2.33 is roughly in line with current trading levels.

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